Don’t Hoard Your Best Writing Ideas for The Future

UPDATED ON APR 27, 2023 : 861 words, 5 minute read — WRITING

My best ideas sit and gather dust on my list of potential writing topics. I don’t have the skill, the audience, the whatever, to do them justice, so it’s better to stockpile them for a brighter future. The future is full of potential, and there is always a way to make it look greener on the other side. Since my life is a long line of interconnected lists, I pulled together all the reasons these thoughts defy logic and prevent me from growing as a writer.

Stockpiling your best ideas for a future audience won’t make you a better writer.

You won’t run out of ideas 🔗︎

There is no limit to the number of great ideas available in life. Using a few of them won’t even be a drop in the bucket. Not to mention, actually diving in and exploring the depths is a great way to learn. It will take you down pathways you could not even see from the starting point. The human brain is amazing at making wild connections, so long as you feed it. Each day you get older and have the opportunity to experience new things, if you step out of your ordinary schedule even for a few minutes you put fuel on the fire for generating ideas. You can’t even imagine what your great ideas could be, because you haven’t yet had the experiences which will spawn them!

Improving as a writer 🔗︎

If your goal is to enjoy writing and improve at it, leaving your most interesting ideas gathering dust because “it isn’t the right time” is a great way to shoot yourself in the foot. You get better at what you spend time doing. All your writing is mediocre, half-assed practice pieces? Congrats, that’s your specialty now! You haven’t spent any time putting your energy and investing into topics you care about, so you haven’t made any progress in writing your best. The cherry on top is readers can feel it if you didn’t put any of your energy into writing, so why should they invest time reading?

It takes a lot of consistent effort to become better at any skill, writing included. If your topic of choice is uninspiring snooze fests and your garbage ideas, it becomes significantly more difficult to actually sit down and create. How many top 10 timer app listicles can you write before you decide to pursue a different passion? On the flip-side, if you write about your best ideas, you’ll have tons of energy to bring them to life. You actually enjoy the topic, so a little research or frustration while getting the idea onto the page won’t feel as daunting.

What you think is best will flop 🔗︎

What you think is a smash hit idea rarely aligns with what actually does well. Tim Denning is a full time writer and still runs into stories he assumed would be great becoming flops . One of my friends who runs a burgeoning YouTube channel, MindfulThinks , said almost the exact same thing. He also mentioned it’s not always the idea is bad, but it could just be the timing. He has multiple videos which did poorly at launch, but then later hit their stride and became some of his top performers. There are so many variables you can’t control that affect your ability to get in front of people, so focus on what you can control: putting out the best you can do right now, even if you don’t think it’s perfect.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle 🔗︎

I have no idea what they grew out of, but if I want to continue to put my writing into the world I have to push back against a few internal laws that rear their head.

  • Once you’ve written about an idea, it’s done and you can never reuse that topic again. It’s ok to treat your work as a Digital Garden that grows and changes over time.
  • Once a piece is published, it’s set in stone. You can not go back and amend it once you’ve become a better writer (Unless you use actual stone 🪨, in which case you might have to let it be).
  • You can’t share anything but your most recent work. Recycling old work is evil and now you’re a bad person.

Obviously, these rules are total baloney 🥪. Nothing stops me from breaking any of these. There are no writing police coming to chase me down for crimes against the written word. Do whatever you want, it’s your writing!

Parting Words 🔗︎

It’s not a waste to use your best ideas before you have an audience. What is a waste? Only writing mediocre, uninspiring ideas while letting your best ones rot on a to-do list. Especially since you’ll never truly “make it”, there will always be another milestone to stockpile ideas for. We’re all human, and with that comes wanting more, more, more. If you get 10, or 1 thousand, or 10 million readers of your work, it will never be enough . Set yourself up to be happy even if you’re the only reader of your writing, and the worry of wasting your best ideas will fade away.

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